Just as the body needs physical nourishment, so the mind needs its nutriment. It is hungry not only on special “feast days,” but every day of our lives. Charlotte Mason exhorted us to “eat” ideas so we might live everyday.
Many questions come to mind: What does my everyday living look like? What nutriment did I take in throughout the day? What was the nature of this food? Was it hearty and plentiful, or processed and meager?
A friend of mine noticed a change in her teenage daughter’s behavior. The daughter had not been “living everyday.” She was passing time, irritable and distant. Upon reflection, the mother asked, “What have you been reading lately?”
The daughter first explained why and then answered vaguely she was reading “some books a friend gave” her. She brought the books out; they consisted of the usual tabloid books for young people—sensational plots and self-absorbed characters. After a healthy exchange of questions and discussion between mother and daughter, they decided that the classic literature, not just any book, would be her daily sustenance. And, is it a surprise to note, the vitality of the young woman changed in no time at all.
Are we what we eat, intellectually? Does it make a difference in the life of our minds if we spend the evening surfing the Internet, browsing Facebook, scanning tabloids of the famous and infamous or sitting with a rich text on history or theology, reading on art or nature, or enjoying a well-written novel?